After being shut out by the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday night, the Hurricanes fell to 29th place in the NHL in scoring. The problem has reached epidemic status and is costing the team critical points in the standings. Just two goals each in the past two games would have yielded four points instead of the one that the team attained.
Today’s Daily Cup of Joe offers a number of different angles on the team’s scoring struggles.
Need more ugly goals
The one thing that jumps out at me in watching the Hurricanes on one of the typical nights when they struggle is what trying harder looks like. The desperate version of the Hurricanes oftentimes looks like round after round of players trying even harder to beat the goalie. But the one thing that has become abundantly clear is that the team lacks scoring fire power. I think that one shift that could yield results is coaching the team that ‘trying harder’ does not mean chucking random shots at the net even more. Rather, ‘trying harder’ means going to the front of the net to create chaos and make the opposing goalie’s job as difficult at possible.
Considering dealing Justin Faulk from a position of strength
Justin Faulk has rebounded strongly in 2018-19. The scoring is not there yet, but Faulk has been good much more often than not this season. With his improved play, many Canes fans suddenly flipped from shopping Faulk to preferring to keep him. At the extreme level, the problem with this type of approach is that it more or less guarantees that a team will sell low (trading only underperforming players) because they always keep players who are playing well. I would at least consider trading Faulk while his value is higher.
Teravainen has not been horrible, but his current 15-goal pace is not enough. Part of it I think is as simple as playing with more of a scorer’s mentality that aims for 30 goals. The issue is that if Sebastian Aho is playing center and with the puck on his stick quite a bit, he is more suited for playmaking than scoring. And if Teravainen similarly takes on more of a playmaker’s role, the offense seems to lean too much toward passing for a couple of its best shooters.
Elusive depth scoring
Many including myself have raved about the current fourth line of Martinook/Wallmark/Svechnikov. No doubt, the trio has been good recently, but even that good version of Wallmark’s line has yet to ever really click offensively at least as measured by actual scoring. Svechnikov leads the line with a modest 36-point scoring pace. Martinook and Wallmark both project to 30 points right now. That is good for a fourth line, but this is the team’s third line right now.
Trying to jump start Dougie Hamilton
Right now, Dougie Hamilton is on pace for a modest 27 points. That is about half of what the team would have hoped from him. I would be inclined not to break up de Haan/Faulk, but is it possible that playing with de Haan could jump start Hamilton’s scoring?
Late last week, the Hurricanes lost Valentin Zykov when he was claimed off of waivers. Per my request for more ugly goals, Zykov could have been a strong fit. Especially with Ferland out of the lineup injured, Zykov could have been an interesting try out on Aho’s line. He looked good or better in a short audition on that line last Spring. As such, the timing of his departure has been puzzling.
What say you Canes fans?
What are your thoughts on the Canes scoring woes and possible ways to improve scoring?
I too am puzzled about Zykov. It would appear that Edmonton is puzzled as well. They too have scoring problems.
Why did we let him go? Yet, what else could we do? What was the problem?
We certainly need goals. Ugly goals count on the score board the same as pretty goals. No asterisks or footnotes. Even the fancy stats fanalysts have to give them equal weight.
So, what do we need? How do we get our guys to score some ugly goals? We need to emphasize the importance of such things. Our young guys need to follow the examples of Michael Ferland and Jordan Martinook. Both men are skilled at the art of screening goalkeepers and finishing from in close.
There is one caveat, however. It hurts. A good d man will make you pay when you do that. A big good d man will make you pay for the privilege of occupying that coveted space.
Svetch is buying into the importance of taking one for the team. Ginny and Phil Di are considering it. Staal is buying in. Willy is. We need to make those d men get tired from beating on us. We need to frustrate the enemy keepers. We need those keepers to start missing our shots because they can’t see them.
Where is Fogele in all of this? Good question. I miss the frustrating young man who drove a keeper to grabbing his stick and tossing it up ice. I hope Roddy and Willy can find him soon. C’mon guys! Pain is part of the game.
And please! Pretty please! Bring back Carrick. He will add much needed grit to our d. He might start making Dougie and Faulk jealous as he starts to score.
One last thing. And this one is really important.
Stop worrying about taking penalties for a while. Roddy as well as the rest of the team need to have faith in our pk, which, in case you haven’t noticed has improved of late.
Take a risk. Give it a try. Because what we are doing isn’t working.
One other thing. TT should stay partnered with Fishy. Together, they are greater than the sum of the parts. Add Ferland and you have a scoring line.
I disagree with those who say that TT is subpar. He and Fishy work so well together that he is lost without his partner. Tinkering with this line is not a good idea.
While Ferland is sidelined, I would have liked to see Zykov. But I will settle for Gauthier.
All the comments above have merit IMO. My take is:
1. The coaching staff has to step up to improve this team by:
a. Insisting on a net presence from each line while in offensive zone.
b. Instucting TT and Aho that both can’t be setup men on same line. One or the other (preferably both) has to shoot when they have a good shot at the net.
c. Putting a number 1 power play unit on the ice that makes sense. For example, if you put Faulk and Hamilton on the points you need Ferland and another tipster in front of the net. If only one point presence, Faulk for example, then you need 2 in front of the net and a couple of shooters (Aho and TT…yes as shooters) and a good setup man. Whatever combination is put out there then you have to let them play most of the penalty period (as do most other teams).
d. Replacing players who have demonstrated they don’t belong in the NHL right now. For example, Foegele is a shell of the player that started the season. I wish he was playing as hard and effectively, but HE INSN’t. Replace him with a callup from Charlotte.
e. Get players on a line they belong on and stop promoting 4th line players up to other lines. Don’t over slot players. If they have been identified as good 4th line for example, leave them on 4th line. Establish a THIRD LINE checking line (Staal, McGinn, DiGui for example) and leave it alone if it is doing it’s job. Bring in new blood to fix needs on 1st and 2nd lines. Start by putting Svetchnikov on one of the top two lines with decdent offensive players.
f. Management needs to focus on our need for offense and do something about it. TARGET a player or players for trade possibilities. Don’t just sit around and wait for someone to become available. Use our assets in Charlotte for something other than developing lifetime AHLers. When is the last time this team has got an offensive difference maker from our top minor league affiliate? Erik Staal, is that it in 2006? It’s time to shoot the works and be aggressive to win hockey games. Pretty soon I will have as high a percentage of my annual income spent on accumulated season ticket costs as Tom Dundon has of his total net worth invested in the team. I would like to see a winning hockey team sometime before the grim reaper makes his visit to my place to say “Hello” to me.
Come to think of it, why am I worrying about all of this? Why not just take what I spend on season tickets and take the wifey shopping (or Paris, it might be cheaper for me). I guess the answer is, then I would miss out on all the comments you guys and gals have to say. Guess will just have to grin and bear it and continue to b-t-h and moan. Where is dmilleravid when I nned him or her? I’m ready for another injection of reasonable well thought out ideas for getting us into the playoffs.
Of our 12 forwards – how many are checking/possession/disruption-focussed? and now many have offensive-focussed games or have offense with their games? On that basis, I would submit our roster lacks offensive talent. But it is more than that. Again, it is how our lines have been configured in the past two games. You can expect no offensive jump from that line configuration – just possession and disruption.
I really like Wallmark and Svech, but they are rookies and appear to be still trying to learn how to score on NHL goalies. Given everything that Svech does on the ice I don’t think he is far from breaking through with consistent scoring.
Last year Maniscalco asked Turbo what the difference was after Turbo started scoring goals in bunches (it might have been after his hat trick game, actually), and he said to the effect that “the coaches told me to shoot more”. Note to current coaching staff… Turbo is doing a lot of things right but he is, again, demonstrably hesitant to shoot the puck.
Aho is starting to look lost on the offense. It started when he was a center and being moved to Staal’s wing hasn’t helped. I don’t think it is all Ferland’s absence. But it doesn’t bode well.
Last year McGinn was on track for 20+ goals if it weren’t for all those posts he was hitting – excellent depth scoring. Now he is nonexistent on the scoresheet. What’s the difference?
I would like to think it is just a matter of time before Faulk and Hamilton rediscover their scoring touch but we are a third of the way into the season and still waiting.
I will close on a positive – the way Slavin has been moving the puck out of the D and neutral zones. Five tape to tape passes leading to breakaways in the Anaheim game – most impressive.
I groaned inwardly (and on here) when I saw the re emergence of the TSA line, I was sure it would be a disaster scoring wise.
The TAZ line would’ve been great, but in the forced absence of Zykov, give the Goat a chance. He’s beein proving his game, his style gels with TT and Aho, and the Canes aren’t scoring, so inject some energy and try to use our ever prised but usually non-performing AHL depth.
I am honest about the possibility of traind Jordan Staal, who is a class person and one of the best defensive forwards in the game, to a team in need of that and willing to give up one or two quality prospects, because they are in a win now mode.
I think Staal has 3 points in his last 20 something games, no matter how great you are defensively, unless it is on Pit’s 4th line or Tor’s third or 4th line, that is not good enough.
Call up Necas again and put him on a wing with someone, see where it goes.
Necas has been playing well down in Clt, especially after being moved to the wing.
I don’t think Gauthier is yet “proving” his game but he is improving it.
I would say bring up Kuokk and put him on Staal’s wing – that combo looked good in the preseason and may spark some offense from Staal.
Necas on the wing – but on the wing of a playmaking center and who would that be?? He is on Roy’s wing in CLT so he maybe he works well with Rask.
And, the good news, so far. Th season is far from over if the team can find a way to address the scoring without giving up more goals.
The Canes are justoutside the playoff cutline as opposed to 10 points out, like in many seasons prior.
There is still a window of opportunity for success this season, but I think something decisive has to be done to take advantage.
breezy–thanks for reminding us of the positives. I have a few to add after my armchair GM comments.
Time to put Svechnikov with Aho and Teravainen. Move TT to LW and go for a true top scoring line. Svech has as many even strength goals as Ferland. Playing with two playmakers could turn him into a 30-goal rookie. Ferland will still get #1 power play which should keep him scoring.
As others have mentioned, Staal is stalled (sorry for bad pun). Let Wallmark center Martinook and Ferland–Martinook also has as many even strength goals as Ferland. Try Rask at LW on Staal’s line with Williams. Let Foegele/Bishop/McGinn create havoc. Phil D can sub in for Foegele or McGinn if needed.
Now the positives: Would caniacs be as bummed if the lineup included Tavares, Wheeler, and Taylor Hall? Based on trends, those are the best comparable players for Aho, Teravainen, and Svechnikov at this point in their careers.
Aho’s first two years: 24g/25a; 29g/36a. Third year ppg so far.
Tavares: 24g/30a; 29g/38a. Third year 81 points in 82 games.
Teravainen at 23 years-old: 23g/41/a. Pace at 24-years-old 16g/40a
Wheeler at 24- and 25-years-old: 18g/26a; 17g/47a.
Svechnikov through 26 games has 6g/6a. Hall had 6g/7a through his first 24 games and then had 3 goals in his next 4 games.
Trends aren’t destiny, but they put the recent bad games in perspective.
We do need to score more goals, clearly. There has been a debate about what we really need to actually improve things: add a “difference maker” (a top Center) or add a “finisher” (a Winger). My heart wants a top Center but my brain leans toward a top Winger.
I say that because we are not at a loss for chances, even Grade A chances. Every game we have multiple point-blank shots, breakaways, and odd-man rushes and we don’t seem to capitalize on them nearly enough. That’s finishing.
Rask had a nice deflection against MTL, but can anyone remember the last deflection before that? I can’t. I can’t even remember a scrambling goal pushed in from the goal mouth. That’s finishing.
Our PP is struggling. Most PP goals on most teams are scored from snipes along the wing and often from cross-ice passes (think Ovi from Backstrom or Laine from Wheeler) or off deflections or rebounds in front (Marchand, Tom Wilson, Hornqvist, etc.) and NOT from point shots. That’s finishing.
We just don’t finish our chances at a high enough rate.
From this perspective, there is a reason that Ferland has been so effective for us (and why we miss him dearly right now), and why Martinook has exceeded expectations (if even he has left many goals un-scored), and why JW is still valuable (even if over-slotted): they score the dirty goals from in close. We need more of this. It’s not enough to take up space in the crease; you have to finish. It’s why Svetch shows such promise: he gets to those areas. It’s why Foegele started off strong: he scored from these areas.
Breezy, to his credit (and peril), identified the elephant in the room: JStaal. He plays the most minutes in the most situations to score and his line simply hasn’t gotten it done offensively since Game 5. Maybe it’s time to rethink how we use him, especially on the PP. He’s got a NMC so he’d be hard to trade, but maybe you sell high on him – that’s when you sell, when you’ll get the most value – we had that discussion about Faulk just yesterday. That would certainly shake thinks up. (How about Stahl+RightHandedD+ for RHN+Puljujärvi). But he does so much more than that and I’m not entirely serious.
We have to remember that it is December with plenty of hockey to play; we aren’t scrambling to make up ground in the standings; we have enjoyed excellent goaltending from both our #1 and #2; our defense is playing well and improving. All things considered, we are very well positioned compared to years past and have plenty of time to find that player in a trade or in our system or just figure it out. It could be a lot worse.
You could be a fan of PIT, PHL, NJD, NYI or NYR. None of those teams are very good – some have played above and some have played below expectations – but we are clearly as good as or better than all of them and their fans have far more angst than we do. To me, the current situation is more half-full than half-empty.
Oh, and one more thing: Red, blow the dough in London instead of Paris. Or better yet, Rome.
And Red, I’m a him.
I’ll be brief because some things can get taken out of context and you never know who is sensitive to what. But I will say this team is soft as a snowflake. As currently constructed they are not good enough for the playoffs. If we have to coach our best players to play with bite, and shoot, etc…that basically means we do not have enough of the right kind of personnel because natural scorers don’t need to be told.
Even if we played a defensive system that choked the opposition’s offense maybe we sneak in…maybe (like Ottawa did with their limited offense a few years back when making their run to the ECF). But that is wishful thinking and this team is not built to stifle others.
Another topic for another day, but unless we get some kind of offensive boost via trade or otherwise, we may soon be in danger of not being able to extend guys like Ferland, or even worse, Aho.
Color me perplexed. Here we are again. Around 19th in TSN’s power rankings, on the outside looking in the race to the playoffs. Once again unable to win key games, currently 1-3-1 in games with playoff implications for our borderline team. Layer on the loss of Zykov for nothing ( he would look better in a suit in the press box than an Oiler uniform on any night) and an offense that has become unimaginably more impotent leaves me at ease with the future. The emergence of McElhinney and Mrazek as at least an average or better goalie tandem doesn’t help my angst at all.
I agree that Zykov is the type of player we could use … but he’s been a healthy scratch twice since the trade. Visa issues?
Angst is a part of fandom. Ask Patriots fans how they felt at 17-0 in the Super Bowl prior to playing the Giants: angst. It’s never going away. It’s what keeps us engaged. Like a moth to light.
We entered the season with 3 major questions. Could goal tending deficiencies be corrected? Looks increasingly possible. Where would needed increased scoring come from? Looks increasingly difficult. Ferland’s injury is a bigger problem than anyone in the preseason would have anticipated. Was rookie RBA up to the task? Looks increasingly like the most important question of the three.